Media of Syria

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The media of Syria consists primarily of television, radio, Internet, film and print. The national language of Syria is Arabic but some publications and broadcasts are also available in English and French.[1] While television is the most popular medium in Syria, the Internet has become a widely utilized vehicle to disseminate content. Transcending all available media, the government seeks to control what Syrians see by restricting coverage from outside sources.[2] Publications and broadcasts are monitored by members of the government.[1] Syria is ranked as one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. There were 28 journalists killed in combat in 2012.[3]

Media[edit]

Public media journalists practice self-censorship.[3] Public media consists of television, print, film, radio and internet and social media.

Alwatan, a private daily published by businessman Rami Makhlouf, President Assad's cousin, has started recently with a circulation that is growing steadily. Aliqtisadi and Forward Magazine are two private newsmagazines, published by businessman Abdulsalam Haykal, Assad's friend. Forward Magazine, which carries the same name as the New York Jewish weekly, addresses the American audience. A major advertising group owned by Majed Suleiman, son of a former senior intelligence officer, runs the non-political daily Baladna. The only other political publication Abyad wa Aswad (White and Black) is owned by Bilal Turkmani, son of the former defense minister, Hasan Turkmani. Other government-friendly businesspeople started a satellite television channel called Addounia TV, which excludes political news.

Television[edit]

There is one main broadcaster for both television and radio called the General Organization of Radio and Television Syria (ORTAS). It was founded in 1960 and is based in Damascus. The channel has programs in Arabic, English and French.[1] TV is the most popular media in Syria.[3]

Satellite channels[edit]

Terrestrial channels[edit]

  • Channel 1 (Terrestrial, with Arabic focus)
  • Channel 2 (Terrestrial, with sport, family and health focus including regional variants)

Newspapers[edit]

Film[edit]

The Syrian film industry is state-run by the Ministry of Culture, which controls production through the National Organization for Cinema. The industry is largely propaganda based, focusing on Syria’s successes in agriculture, health, transportation and infrastructure.[4]

Radio[edit]

There are over 4 million radios in Syria. They tend to broadcast music, ads and stories relating to culture.[1]

  • Syrian Arab Republic Radio
  • FARAH FM 97.3

Online[edit]

Providing hosting services is a violation of United States sanctions.[5] Some of the official Syrian government websites include:

  • Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA)
  • Ministry of Religious Affairs site
  • General Authority for Development site
  • Government of Hama, city website [5]

News agencies and online news services based in or targeted at Syria, several of which launched during the Syrian civil war, include:

  • Al-Masdar News, sometimes criticized as sympathetic to the Syrian regime[6][7]
  • Al-Watan, an online edition of Damascus-based Al-Watan newspaper, the 33rd most visited website for 2010 in the MENA region.[8]
  • Amaq News Agency, a news outlet linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
  • ANF News (Kurdish: Ajansa Nûçeyan a Firatê‎), a Netherlands-based multilingual online news service.[9]
  • ARA News, an online news service focussed on the consequences of war in Syria and Iraq.[10]
  • Hawar News Agency (sometimes abbreviated ANHA) (Arabic: وكالة أنباء هاوار‎) is an online Kurdish news service based in Al-Hasaka, Syria, said to be linked to the SDF.[11][12]
  • Ekurd.net, an English language online newspaper for Kurds since January 2015, based in New York. The editorial team is known, though its owners are not.[13]
  • NOW News, a Beirut-based news website focused on the Middle East, with a special section on the developing situation in Syria.
  • Orient Net, a Dubai-based Arabic and English language online newspaper concerned with Syrian affairs.
  • Rumiyah is a multi-language Raqqa-based online magazine used by ISIL for propaganda and recruitment.[14]
  • SMART News Agency, SMART standing for "Syrian Media Action Revolution Team", a France-based Arabic language opposition media network.
  • Syria Direct, an Arabic and English language news desk covering Syria's war and politics.
  • Syria-News, an Arabic language online press agency intended to report news about Syria.
  • Syria NewsDesk, a Beirut-based Arabic news agency, focussed on the ordeal of the Syrian population, supported by the Dutch foundation "Free Press Unlimited".[15][16]

Pro-rebel media[edit]

The public does have access to Western radio stations and satellite TV, and Qatar-based Al Jazeera has become very popular in Syria.[17]

In August 2012, a media centre utilized by foreign reporters in Azaz was targeted by the Syrian Air Force in an airstrike on a civilian area during Ramadan.[18]

Television[edit]

There are also satellite stations which broadcast outside Syria. Two of the primary satellite networks, Eutelsat and Nilesat, have recently expressed frustrations over the Syrian government preventing satellite TV transmissions broadcast from international outlets.[3]

Satellite channels[edit]

Press[edit]

  • Al-Ghad: opposition paper
  • Al-Ahd (The Vow)- published by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
  • Free Syria-weekly published in Gaziantep, Turkey. Stories tend to support pluralism, moderate Islam and democracy
  • Brigades: published by a military brigade to raise questions about the origins of extremist Muslim fighters
  • Sham-published by the Sham News Network, which is an activist news organization. It is privately financed. Each 16-page edition includes coverage of culture, translation from foreign news sources and cartoons that are critical of the Assad government.[20]
  • Pamphlets: Muslim extremist groups such as Nusra Front and Jabhet al-Nusra utilize pamphlets to disseminate their ideas

Film[edit]

Recently, the Internet has offered filmmakers a new outlet to broadcast their films. One example of this is that every Friday, since April 2011, volunteers, formed by Abounaddara, have posted a short film on the Internet depicting the social side of the conflict.[21]

  • Abounaddara: Damascus-based production company founded in 2010 to broadcast Syrian films online.[21]

Radio[edit]

  • Alaan FM  :Al Aan FM Launched in Syria in October 2012 broadcasting live from the UAE.[1] Al Aan FM is available in the following cities and frequencies:

FARAH FM 97.3 Al-Bukamal 96.6 MHz Aleppo 96.6 MHz Al Qunaitra 98.2 MHz Atimah Camps 99.7 MHz Azaz & Afrin 96.6 MHz Al Bab & Manbij 104.4 MHz Damascus 96.9 MHz Daraa 96.9 and 99.4 MHz Hama, Homs 97.6 MHz Idlib 96.6 MHz Kobani 96.7 MHz Latakia 96.6 MHz Qamishli & Amuda 97.6 MHz Suwayda 96.9 and 99.4 MHz Shaddadi (Ash Shaddadi) 97.6 MHz

Internet and social media[edit]

With the breakdown of many traditional media outlets during the civil war, much of the current events are reported by individuals on Facebook and Twitter. However, the reliability of such reports can in many cases not be independently verified by credible news agencies. While many websites have appeared and publish a pro-opposition alternative to regime media, the lack of robust journalistic standards has often benefited the government since correctly denying news reports gives them more credibility.[23]

Prohibitive measures against media[edit]

State of emergency law[edit]

The constitution of the Syrian Arab Republic guaranteed the right to a free press and freedom of expression, but Syria was under a highly restrictive state of emergency law since the Ba'ath Party came to power in 1964 until 2011. Anyone wishing to establish an independent paper or periodical must apply for a license from the Ministry of Information.[17] In 2011 the state of emergency was lifted.[26] This seems to have had no effect what-so-ever on the way the government conducted itself regarding the media, with Syria's ranking actually worsening the following year with journalistic organizations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists,[27] and Reporters Without Borders[28] both ranking Syria as one of the top four most repressive countries in the world.

Internet censorship[edit]

There are over 5 million Internet users in Syria. Reporters Without Borders lists Syria as an “internet enemy” due to high levels of censorship. The Internet is controlled by the Syrian Computer Society (SCS) and the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE).[29] The government monitors activity through the hacking of emails and social networking accounts and phishing. Simultaneously, the government releases pro-Assad propaganda and false information to support its cause.[30] The law requires Internet cafes to record all comments in the online chatrooms.[31] There was a two-day Internet blackout in 2012, which was likely orchestrated by the government.[3] Authorities have blocked journalists and bloggers from attending and reporting on events by arresting and torturing them. This is not limited to Syrian journalists as members of the Associated Press and Reuters have been arrested and expelled from the country for their reporting.[30]

Press freedom[edit]

Reporters Without Borders ranked Syria 173rd out of 178 countries in the world on the Press Freedom Index in October 2010. On the Press Freedom Barometer for 2013, the organization reports that 5 journalists have been killed, 21 journalists, 1 media assistant, and 18 netizens have been imprisoned.[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d European Neighborhood Journalism Network (n.d.). "Syria-media profile". European Neighborhood Journalism Network. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  2. ^ Nick Sturdee (10 February 2013). "BBC documentary examines Syria's state TV channel al Ikhbariya". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Country profile: Syria". BBC News. 30 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Rasha Salti (2006). "Critical Nationals: The Paradoxes of Syrian Cinema" (PDF). Kosmorama. Danish Film Institute (Copenhagen). Retrieved 15 February 2013. 
  5. ^ a b New York Times (November 29, 2012). "Official Syrian Web sites hosted in U.S." New York Times. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  6. ^ O'Connor, Tom (17 March 2017). "Syria at War: As U.S. Bombs Rebels, Russia Strikes ISIS and Israel Targets Assad". Newsweek. Retrieved 28 April 2017. 
  7. ^ McKernan, Bethan (2 February 2017). "Syrian army creates unit just for women after so many sign up to fight Isis". The Independent. 
  8. ^ "Forbes Releases Top 50 MENA Online Newspapers; Lebanon Fails to Make Top 10". Jad Aoun. 28 October 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Têkilî (contact)". ANF News (in Kurdish). 
  10. ^ "Interview Adib Abdulmajid". Tilburg University. 
  11. ^ "Contact ANHA". Retrieved 2 January 2017. Phone +96352463446 (Hasaka Syria number) 
  12. ^ Issa, Philip; Mroue, Bassem (13 April 2017). "Misdirected US strike killed 18 allied fighters in Syria". AP News. Beirut. 
  13. ^ "About us - Kurd Net - Ekurd.net Daily News". Kurd Net - Ekurd.net Daily News. 
  14. ^ Bethan McKernan (2016-09-06). "Isis' new magazine Rumiyah shows the terror group is 'struggling to adjust to losses'". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-09-23. 
  15. ^ "Independent news agency launched in Syria". Free Press Unlimited. 22 May 2013. 
  16. ^ "Developing Professional Journalism in Syria". Free Press Unlimited. 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Syria country profile. Library of Congress Federal Research Division (April 2005). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  18. ^ "Syrian warplanes hammer rebel border town". Al Jazeera. 15 August 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012. 
  19. ^ "Syria's media war". Columbia Journalism Review. 
  20. ^ "Syrian newspapers emerge to fill out war reporting". 
  21. ^ a b "Two faces of Syrian cinema on show in paris". Archived from the original on 2012-12-04. 
  22. ^ "من نحن ؟". Fresh Net. Retrieved 2016-01-23. 
  23. ^ Macfarquhar, Neil (2013-04-01). "Syrian Newspapers Emerge to Fill Out War Reporting". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-23. 
  24. ^ "Kafranbel: a paradigm of creative storytelling (Part 1/2)". openDemocracy. Retrieved 2016-01-23. 
  25. ^ "Rising Up and Rising Down". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 2016-01-23. 
  26. ^ Khaled Yacoub Oweis (21 April 2011). "Syria's Assad ends state of emergency". Reuters. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  27. ^ "10 Most Censored Countries". Committee to Protect Journalists. 2 May 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  28. ^ "Press Freedom Index 2011-2012". Reporters Without Borders. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  29. ^ "Syria". Reporters Without Borders. 2012. 
  30. ^ a b c "Syria". Reporters Without Borders. 1 September 2011. 
  31. ^ "There is no media in Syria at all". Irish Times. 11 April 2012. 

External links[edit]